While most ski areas across the country are lucky to have one or two runs open by Thanksgiving, Aspen kicked its season into high gear by hosting Thanksjibbing Weekend, a night time wall ride contest and concert. Despite the relatively small amount of $500 for the winner, Colorado’s heavyweights descended on the mountain to throw down their moves and sweat out the gravy and booze from two days earlier.
The setup was a slightly angled wall, 32 feet high by 32 feet long, which could be hit from either side via quarter pipes, or straight up the middle. “The wall was 100 percent. It was just really fun,” said Chad Otterstrom.
“As far as we know, it’s the biggest wall ride that’s ever been built,” said Aspen Promotions Manager, Troy Michels. For the added enjoyment of the crowd, California rockers Fingertight played a full concert on the stage atop the wall. The format was your basic jam session, with both skiers and shredders, with each rider getting in as many runs as they could in an hour.
After getting warmed up on the middle section, most riders chose to take it to the tombstones on either side. Otterstrom threw up big backside airs to tail taps, before launching himself into 540s to wall ride. Colin Langlois went the lip trick route with airs off the tombstone to lipslides and lipslide reverts. Zach Leach buttered most of the way across the 32-foot wall with steezy laybacks. Ryan Lougee took to a more skate influenced line, by hitting the wall up the middle going for rocks to fakie. Also going up the middle was Vail ripper Josh Malay. After getting bored with throwing McTwists to the wall, Josh started getting damn close to pulling a wall ride to frontflip to fakie! As the contest progressed, it was obvious that the trick to beat was the McTwist to wall ride. Otterstrom threw some, as well as Malay, but local destroyer Avery Karas stepped it up with a McTwist to backside lipslide on top of the wall!
At the end, it was left up to the riders to pick the winner. As the votes were tallied, the winner was Avery Karas. (Sponsors take note, Avery’s a free agent and this isn’t the first time he?s stepped up.) After all was said and done, the contest was deemed a success. “I had a great time,” said Otterstrom. “It didn’t really feel like a contest. It felt more like you were just riding with your friends.”
“The event couldn’t have gone any better,” added Michels. “The athletes were super supportive and enthusiastic about the event, and we’ll definitely be doing it again next year, with an extra twist. We don’t want to do the exact same thing over and over again.”